Today’s teapot in my teatime series turned out to be rather elegant, I think. Stylish. So what else could I write about today, but Earl Grey tea? It is an elegant, stylish tea. It has stood the test of time and seems to evoke strong reactions. What is your reaction - love it or hate it?
Unsurprisingly, the history of Earl Grey tea starts in Britain. Charles Grey was an English aristocrat and Prime Minster from 1830 to 1834. He also had 6 daughters and 10 sons. (… so what exactly is in Earl Grey Tea again….??)
The characteristic flavour of Earl Grey tea comes from the addition of bergamot. Bergamot is a mediterranean citrus. Some stories say that bergamot and tea were shipped together once and the flavours of the fruit mingled happily with the tea. Others say a Chinese friend of the Earl blended the tea with the citrus to counteract the mineral taste of the water in his home - Howick Hall in Northumberland, England. Yet another story suggests that Earl Charles Grey was given the recipe for the tea when he saved the son of a tea blender in China from drowning.
In reality, no one knows exactly how or why Earl Grey became associated with the tea. But it has certainly stuck. It is possible that more people know Earl Grey for his namesake tea than for abolishing slavery during his time in office!
Like all teas, Earl Grey is loved for its many health benefits, mostly from its natural antioxidants. Bergamot is also thought to be beneficial. So choosing Earl Grey today might just help guard against heart disease. Bergamot contains contains enzymes known as HMGF (hydroxy methyl glutaryl flavonones) which can attack proteins in the body known to cause heart disease.
Earl Grey has lovers, of course… like Sir Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code, Captain Picard in Star Trek, and Q in Skyfall. But then there are the haters. Not me, to be sure. I can’t say I agree with the sentiment but, if you have 1 minute and 47 seconds to spare check out Kenny Enda’s song for a bit of a giggle!
Explore more of the Tea Time post series here
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